The Critics Weigh In On Seven Pounds


We have no idea what the weather’s like where you live, but in New York it’s snowing so hard that we can’t see the building directly across the street from Flavorpill. Translation: the odds that someone you know is going to suggest “taking it easy” tonight and going to see Will Smith’s new movie Seven Pounds just rose exponentially.

Admitting that you don’t like Will Smith in a movie is kind of like saying you hate puppies or the elderly — especially with the world-saving roles he’s taken on in recent years. Nevertheless, after the jump you’ll find the final paragraphs from seven reviewers who don’t think his performance is anything you should pay to see. EVER.

Remember this when you get that call later, and suggest renting a new DVD like Baghead instead.

1. “I’m serious. Don’t.” [NYT]

2. “Will Smith has no need to prove he’s a serious actor. He did that 15 years ago in Six Degrees of Separation, and two years ago in The Pursuit of Happyness. That film, like this one, was directed by Gabriele Muccino. But whatever he and Smith set out in pursuit of this time, a tiring sappiness is all they brought back.” [MTV]

3. “The rest of Seven Pounds feels like a half-hour Twilight Zone script that has been pressed onto a gob of Silly Putty and stretched to the sinking point. Like its star’s ingratiating Eddie Haskell smile, the film’s title dissembles. Add a thousand and you have an idea of how much the thing weighs.” [LAT]

4. “You see, Ben isn’t really the son of God, after all. Or even very much of a hero. He’s just a man. And when it comes right down to it, the film asks, isn’t that hard enough?” [WashPo]

5. [WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN THIS ONE] “But in Seven Pounds, many of Smith’s choices are incomprehensible: Sometimes Ben squints and stammers for reasons that are unclear. Has he just given up too much of himself? Is his mind failing due to loss of blood? In Seven Pounds, Smith is more confused than he is charming. He rallies only in his scenes with Rosario Dawson, who’s saddled with the most thankless role in the universe: that of ‘Girl with Heart Condition.’ This character does have a name (it’s Emily), and as Dawson plays her, she’s a genuinely believable, low-key presence. In fact, Dawson’s performance got me through Seven Pounds. Possibly, there’s a grand, nearly operatic, romantic idea buried somewhere in this story. But Seven Pounds is too grim and self-serious to make that angle work properly. Dawson is the only miracle worker here; she emerges from this mess untainted by its creepiness, and every moment she’s on-screen, she at least gives us something to watch. By the time I got to the end of Seven Pounds, I felt I owed her my life. Or at least part of my liver.” [Salon]

6. “Seven Pounds ultimately delivers the usual phony baloney that the major studios offer up in thick slices at the end of the year. It’s the kind of tediously moralizing parable that wants audiences to leave the theater thinking about doing unto others, but its real target demographic is Oscar voters. Those Academy members may find themselves feeling less inclined towards generosity.” [MSNBC]

7. “Nor can it be said that Smith, whose most recent box office barn-burners, I Am Legend and Hancock, seemed consciously designed to set the star apart from the rest of humanity, shies away from the saintlike status conferred upon his character. Indeed, he embraces it in a way so convincing that it proves disturbing as an indication of how highly this or any momentarily anointed superstar may regard himself.” [Variety]